Chocolate Fountains - Who's used one?

labmommaOctober 22, 2006

I am planning a chocolate fountain for my DD sweet sixteen birthday party 10/29. Any one out there ever used one? What things did you put out to dip, did it clog and how did your guests like it??? Thanks!

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Be sure that you have completely melted the chocolate before putting it in the fountain so it won't clog.

You also must have in on a level table or it won't flow properly.

The little kids liked it better then the adults and teens. It may have been because the big kids saw the little kids put their fingers right in the fountain. The worse in 'double dipping'. :)

I'll never do one again. They waste alot of chocolate, are not easy to clean and the whole process in messy.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2006 at 1:47PM
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My friend has one and she used it once and said never again. She said it's not worth the cleanup plus she threw alot of chocolate away. It sounds like one of those items that we use a couple of times and then it ends up sitting on the shelf gathering dust.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2006 at 2:28PM
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EWW!!..Not for me...too much fingers hands and as has been said double dipping.
I went to a very nice catered dinner in an airconditioned tent last summer...with a chocolate fountain for dessert. No kids present. There were a couple of flies in the tent and I was hoping one or more didn't land in the chocolate and get "circulated"..I dropped my banana chunk into the tank, I hope it didn't clog it up. And I spilled chocolate on my blouse...and had to spend the rest of the fancy even with a big chocolate smear on my front!
16 year old girls would likely love it...I don't care for them...I like a rich dark chocolate and all the chocolate I have seen in the fountains are light milk chocolate.
But...that aside for teenagers...who likely are really into junk food and are also adult enough not to dip their grubby fingers into the chocolate....go for it!
Things to dip? banana chunks, strawberries, pineapple bits, angel food cake, marshmallows....and I might add cup up twinkies, marischino cherries with the stem and how about pretzel sticks?
Linda C

    Bookmark   October 22, 2006 at 2:33PM
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I was going to supply wooden skewers for fruit. Not too appealing idea of fingers stuck into the fountain or double dipping:) My instructions say can use cheese or any kind of chocolate, dark, light, white. I think it just has to be thoroughly heated. I am rethinking maybe only offering pretzel rods and long stemmed large strawberries? Mostly adults partaking....

    Bookmark   October 22, 2006 at 3:24PM
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Be sure to warn all the guests ahead of time of your plans so they can dress accordingly. And I'd be sure to have it in an area where your best furniture/rugs won't be in the 'line of fire'. Dripping chocolate can make some really difficult stains.

I know they're a really trendy, popular idea these days, but to be honest, if I attended a party and saw one of those things, I'd stay as far away as possible--just too messy for me.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2006 at 9:01AM
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Does it spray chocolate? The one I purchased is a small Wilton model. I think I better give it a dry run. Thanks all for your input. I hope I don't have to abandon the thing since I already promised, but I am getting the impression that they are a complete mess.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2006 at 9:45AM
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I just catered a wedding with two chocolate fountains...a milk chocolate and a white chocolate. It went really well. I'm not sure why clean up has been difficult for the others. The fountains I've worked with have cleaned up very easily. Definitely provide skewers and instructions (can print them and put them in a nice frame sitting next to the fountain). My main advice is to use high-quality fondue chocolate. The chocolate you get at the craft store for making chocolates does not work. I used Sephra brand for the most recent wedding. Melt it in the microwave first, then pour into the fountain.

As for dipping items, I've served marshmallows, pretzel rods, pound cake chunks, maraschino cherries, chunked pineapple, grapes, strawberries, graham crackers, etc.

I do agree with the others that fountains aren't good ideas if there are a lot of small children present. However, any problems can be remedied by including "Children must be supervised by an adult" to the instruction frame.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   October 23, 2006 at 4:42PM
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Where can I buy the fountain quality chocolate? I don't remember ever seeing that brand at the grocery. Also, what about the craft chocolate is a problem- too thin?? Woman at the store where I bought fountain assured me that the craft chocolate was okay. The instructions say if you are not using belgium chocolate you have to add vegetable oil? Thanks.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2006 at 5:45PM
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If you buy fondue chocolate, you do not have to add oil. I didn't like the craft chocolate for a few reasons. I didn't think the flavor was that great and it didn't flow smoothly, regardless of what we did. No amount of oil made it flow smoothly. I was unimpressed with it. The fondue chocolate was beautifully smooth, had fabulous flavor (and was available in dark chocolate, BTW). I got it at a local confections/candy store, NOT the grocery. Grocery stores usually don't sell it at this quality. You may need to order it online. It is formulated to flow smoothly through the fountain, making it better than the craft chocolate. I'm including a link to where you can purchase this particular brand, but you could probably find other fondue-quality chocolates, also. The price may be steep if you were considering using the craft chocolates, but in my opinion, it's worth it.

Hope that helps!

Here is a link that might be useful: Sephra Chocolate website

    Bookmark   October 25, 2006 at 11:25AM
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Don't let everyone scare you off. It will be a fun treat for your daughter's special day - if perhaps, not something you will be pulling out every week for book club or a card party or whatever - but a Sweet 16 is worth a little fuss.

Definitely offer skewers. Possibly have a few pre-stabbed pieces of fruit or whatever so people get the idea. Have plates or napkins near by. Dipping the fruit isn't the dangerous part - it's getting the fruit from the fountain to your mouth. Works better with a pit stop on a plate while you go sit down.

We all have high risk party foods. My Dad can't have gravy without bringing some home on his necktie. I get in trouble with linguine or fettucini. Some people can't attempt chocolate fountain and won't partake, but the others will think it is fun.

Anything firm enough for fondue would be delicious dipped in chocolate. (Frankly, I think my shoe would be delicious dipped in chocolate)

If shoes are not available, strawberries, pineapple or any other berries or fruit slices that won't brown on a buffet. Pound cake, angel food cake, marshmallows, graham crackers, pretzels...would all be good.

Presently I have visions of a nutter butter dipped in chocolate dancing in my head, but the things listed above probably have broader appeal. (mmmm...nutter butters...)

Here is a link that might be useful: craftfetish blog

    Bookmark   October 25, 2006 at 4:28PM
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okieladybug - tried to get the Sephra chocolate but it was $30 shipping fee since I need it for Friday. However, the girl was nice and told me that some stores carry it, Williams Sonoma, Sur La Table, BJ's Wholesale. Unfortunately, WS is out of stock. They do have fondue chocolate tho, but the girl at WS said that when they used the fountain which was a Sephra fountain, they had to add oil to the chocolate when they ran it from time to time since it got thick at times. I am still checking on the other stores. I am wondering if anyone has used the craft chocolate and if so, how did it go with adding the oil since that will be my only option if I cannot find the Sephra in stock.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2006 at 5:19PM
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It's probably too late, but I *have* used the craft chocolate, thus my opinion. We used it for a wedding in April and it was a disaster. Absolutely disgusting mess! You had to add far too much oil to make it suitable for flowing which made it completely unappetizing, if you ask me.

I'm sorry you couldn't find the Sephra was wonderful. Did you check small shops in your area? I live in a small town and our local candy store had it, which was surprising to me. We also have an entertaining shop (they sell high-quality cheeses, crackers, specialty dishes, etc.) and I think they would probably have it or be able to order it. Is there anything like that in your area?

I agree completely with craftfetish: a sweet 16 is a special event and I think it would be worth any extra work to have something that special available for your daughter.

Good luck!!!

    Bookmark   October 27, 2006 at 1:31PM
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I went to Williams Sonoma and got their fondue chips bittersweet. The guy there was a former party planner who has used the Sephra fountain with the Sephra chocolate and still had to add oil. I am using 1 part WS chips to equal part craft milk chocolate. Although I love dark chocolate and would do it for a different party, my daughter is a milk chocolate person so I want it to be as much like milk as possible. Apparently, the Sephra chocolate is only carried around the holidays, Christmas and Valentines (according to WS rep). I have called all the candy shops and other places I can think of in my area to no avail. I am just going to go for it. Wish me luck!

    Bookmark   October 27, 2006 at 5:59PM
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Well, how did it go? I'm hoping it worked out for you. Did your daughter enjoy her party? I used the Sephra chocolates with the Sephra fountain and did not have to add oil, but I suppose each person is different in what they're looking for. I was looking for fondue chocolate consistency, not chocolate syrup. ;)

    Bookmark   October 29, 2006 at 6:41PM
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All went well. I was very nervous about getting it going in the kitchen and moving it into the dining room. It was so easy, no problems whatsoever. I used double the chocolate called for just the amount of oil for one batch. It was a nice consistency. Coated well. Had two young kids who had experienced a fountain before and they were great. Everyone used their plates and didn't have a whole lot of chocolate left over. DD cleaned the fountain and said not that bad. All in all I was more worried than I should have been. Not one person had chocolate on their clothing. It was a great idea and I plan on using it again where it can be more the focal point. I had alot of food and a cake since it was a birthday. I would enjoy using it with all kinds of fruit, biscotti, cut up pound cake. LOVED IT.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2006 at 6:35PM
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I'm so glad to hear it went well! And glad to hear that everyone enjoyed it!

    Bookmark   October 31, 2006 at 12:44PM
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I have been following this thread because I am a chocoholic and really like the idea of these fountains. I have resisted buying one because I was afraid that it wouldnt really work. Now I see that the price is going down, but wonder what brand fountain you all have used that works well. I have seen "Nostalgia" and "Wilton" brands in stores for $20 - $30. Macy's has some other brand for around $50. It seems to me that they all look alike, as does the Sephra brand that I have seen only on the internet. So are the higher priced models better and what brand do you recommend? Thanks

    Bookmark   October 31, 2006 at 3:19PM
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The one I purchased was on sale for about $40.

The Sephra is about $175 on the Williams Sonoma website.

think the benefit of the Sephra or one similar is that you can actually melt the chocolate in the bottom of the fountain. The one I purchased you have to melt the chocolate in the microwave then transfer it to the fountain leaving some lag time between stirring out of the microwave and getting chocolate into the bowl of the fountain. The recipe called for a 24 oz of chocolate to 3/4 c. oil. I used double the chocolate and about 2/3 c. oil to get the consistency I wanted. I didn't want it oily, but you have to get to a consistency where it will flow over the fountain properly or there's no point in having a fountain, you might as well do fondue.
I have actually considered upgrading to the Sephra or something similar since I like the chocolate fountain, we had a good experience and I would definitely use it again for entertaining. I would like to just melt the chocolate in the machine it is going to end up in rather than the microwave. That to me was the only down side. Other than that, if you don't mind melting then transferring, buy the cheaper version.

I don't think its something I would use very often, but I do intend to use it again - probably plan a party around the fountain, or someone in the family might like to use it for a party also and I had a cheapie. All in all it was good for what we were using it for. If you were doing a large party you definitely need a larger size than we had. The Sephra is larger.

Also, my model says I can do cheese, Williams Sonoma party planner told me even with the Sephra, he had no luck with cheese, just something to know before you buy.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2006 at 6:18PM
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labmomma, thanks for the info. I'm going to seriously look into to getting one. I don't think I can justify spending $175 because I probably won't use it that much, so I guess I'll be heating chocolate in the microwave. What brand is the one that you have?

    Bookmark   October 31, 2006 at 7:04PM
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I thought it was a Wilton but when I got it out of the box it says Nostalgia on the actual fountain. It was in the Kohl's circular 40% as a Wilton model, but I don't see anything saying Wilton on the actual machine.

I would say if you're not opposed to heating in the microwave, buy one like I have. I have since learned of a couple of friends who have them and they have the same idea. Small, melt the chocolate in the microwave.

It is more convenient if you can melt it in the actual fountain, but you are definitely paying 3x as much.

As for the chocolate I have to respectfully disagree about the craft chocolate. I used 1/2 craft, 1/2 Williams Sonoma fondue chips and it was delicious. I did have to use twice the amount of recommended chocolate to come up to close the rim of the bowl of the fountain which is recommended and the fountain didn't work properly until I added more chocolate, it didn't flow right, spaces where there was no chocolate flowing if you know what I mean. I would think if the craft chocolates were that bad, I wouldn't have gotten as good of a result. I will say that if I were doing a party focusing on the fountain I would use dark chocolate for all adults. Williams-Sonoma chips were $14 a pound and I used 2 pounds of W/S and 2 pounds of milk chocolate craft.

Post if you buy one and use it.

I think the above posts probably avoided some problems for me. I set it up on a glass topped tea cart. I had plenty of plates. We talked to the two youngest kids about using the plate plus they had a fountain at a wedding they participated in as attendants. No chocolate on clothing. I bought the W/S extra long skewers. Make sure your fruit is dry. I cleaned the strawberries in the morning and sat them on paper towels, changing them 2x in order to get them dry and to let them come to room temperature for serving. I think if your guests have never experienced a fountain you do have to let them know that the chocolate takes a minute to set up, thus holding it over a plate or napkin - don't try and eat it the second you pull it out of the fountain.

I am actually going to try the cheese despite the bad experience of the guy at W/S. We occasionally have cheese and fruit for dinner as a treat with a good bottle of wine. I think I might give it a whirl some Sunday afternoon when the game is on. Sounds kind of crazy tho. Football game with a cheese fountain:-,) That I definitely would do a dry run on before I spring on a group of friends...

    Bookmark   October 31, 2006 at 7:52PM
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Thanks, Labmomma
I have seen a small nostalgia brand at CVS and a couple of other places for $20. I think I will pick one up and give it a try. As for the chocolate, I thought I saw on the box that you could use bags of chocolate chips. I assumed they were refering to the supermarket nestles or hersheys. BTW - dark is my favorite too.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2006 at 10:58PM
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Yep, the instructions that my fountain recommended 24 oz of bag semi sweet chocolates. What area of the country are you in? I paid I think $40 on sale at Kohls supposedly 40% off... Geez.

I also heard from a friend who has used the Nestle chocolate chips that they worked just fine. Another tip from the chocolate store I called for Sephra - they use coconut or palm oil when they make things. I really at this early hour can't remember why, but I guess it makes it set up faster, which would be a good thing with the fountain dipping.

Have fun.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2006 at 6:15AM
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I just joined and was reading the postings on chocolate fountains to get some ideas for things to "dip". My son is 18 today and I'll have about 30 - 40 teenagers invading my house tonight for the party.

I've used my chocolate fountain several times for smaller gatherings and have never had any problems with it.

I just had to let you all know that I bought mine on QVC a couple of years ago and it runs beautifully. I think I paid about $40 plus shipping. It cleans up very easily.

Happy Holidays!

    Bookmark   November 10, 2006 at 9:11AM
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    Bookmark   August 26, 2007 at 7:02PM
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    Bookmark   April 24, 2011 at 3:46PM
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Well I'm thinking on buying a fountain at least 3 tiers. I was looking at Sephra but it's expensive. I saw Nostalgia and Wilton, I wanna make sure I'll by something good that won't break too soon. Wich one do you recomend but thinking at a good price ($40 or $50).

    Bookmark   May 17, 2011 at 5:53PM
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Hi all

I was just about to come and post this question myself. I have used a fondue pot before for chocolate but thought I would give a fountain a try.

Anyone got a list of fixings. :)

I was thinking:

rice krispie treats
pretzel sticks
vanilla wafers
peanut butter cookies
pound cake
angel food cake
puff pastries filled with various creams

    Bookmark   May 26, 2011 at 12:34PM
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